Networked Notes - 30 Aug 2016


The FARC leadership expressed sincere gratitude to Venezuela’s government for the success of recent peace negotiations. In reality, it is Venezuela’s government which should be thanking the FARC. The extended peace negotiations are a critical reason why Colombia specifically, and Latin America in general, has been reluctant to more forcefully denounce abuses of human rights and democratic values in Venezuela.

Networked Notes - 21 June 2016

Venezuela’s MUD is stuck in a bind. The president and ruling party’s approval ratings are way down while the leading opposition leaders and parties to President Maduro are relatively popular. But popularity doesn’t mean there is a checkmate move in sight. While the MUD is not yet willing to admit defeat, Maduro appears to have successfully blocked the chances for a recall referendum this year. This removes a key path to a democratic transition prior to the scheduled 2019 elections. The hemisphere is debating the ongoing negotiations and Democratic Charter at the OAS this week, but whatever the outcome of that debate, it doesn’t change the fact that a peaceful and democratic transition is unlikely in the short term.

Networked Notes - 7 June 2016

After leaked tapes and now a potential arrest order, Brazil Senate leader Renan Calheiros might be forced out of his job before the impeachment vote on President Rousseff can occur. Calheiros was instrumental in directing the Senate’s impeachment proceedings in an apparently impartial way, without the theatrics of the Lower House. As such, Calheiros has pushed back against speeding up Senate proceedings and limited Senators arguments on impeachment to pertinent matters. It is questionable whether this is good for Dilma Rousseff. 

Networked Notes - 8 March 2016

There is a growing realization within the Venezuelan MUD that they are stuck. The government is losing ground in terms of public opinion and general ability to run the country, but Maduro’s opponents still do not have a clear path forward. The decision last week for an “all of the above” strategy to push for Maduro’s ouster came with the unspoken acknowledgement that all of the routes that the opposition controls have little chance of succeeding independently due to the government’s control of other institutions including the military and the courts. Ultimately, the goal of these routes is to convince the Chavistas that their best option is to push Maduro out. Meanwhile, the opposition is simply trying to use its ongoing National Assembly efforts to position itself as a legitimate alternative to voters.

Oaxaca’s Governor’s Race: Fractured Parties & Alliances

The Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) is fighting to return Oaxaca to its control after the PRD disrupted its 80 year streak in 2010. The PRI has allied with Nueva Alianza and Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM) under PRI candidate Alejandro Murat Hinojosa. Murat left the directorship of the Instituto del Fondo Nacional para la Vivienda de los Trabajadores (Infonavit) to follow in his father’s footsteps -- José Murat Casab was the former Oaxaca Governor -- and seek the state governorship. Murat has accused the current Cue administration of lying with its failed public policies, leaving Oaxacans without access to healthcare, sewage, and electricity. Murat promises to bring transparency and accountability to spending and focus on public policies that come from the public. 

Chihuahua’s Governor’s Race: Betrayal and Ambition

Chihuahua’s pre-campaign season has seen significant movement in recent weeks as candidates and parties position themselves for the election that will take place on 5 June 2016. After the pre-candidate registration closed on 11 February 2016, National Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) leader Agustín Basave Benítez indicated on 15 February it was unclear whether or not it would ally with the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) to back their candidate in Chihuahua against the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), which currently holds the state governorship. However, by 29 February, PRD Secretary General Beatriz Mojica confirmed the two parties will run separate candidates.